Popcorn Company Bans Butter Powder

Chemical diacetyl causes lung trouble in workers who breathe it
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 30, 2007 4:57 PM CDT
Pop Weaver popcorn has introduced the first microwave popcorn with flavoring containing no diacetyl. Diacetyl has recently come under increased scrutiny about its safety for consumers. (PRNewsFoto/Pop...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Weaver Popcorn has stopped using diacetyl, the powder that gives microwave popcorn its buttery flavor, after allegations that the chemical causes lung disease in workers who inhale it at factories, the Indianapolis Star reports. "We want to take our brand out of any potential controversy," says Michael Weaver, president of one of the largest in the microwave popcorn industry.

The chemical, also used in bread and Chardonnay wine, isn't harmful to consume, but recent lawsuits concerning "popcorn lung" have resulted in large financial settlements for ill workers. California is considering a statewide ban, and one lawmaker wants to take it national. Weaver, meanwhile, won't divulge its new butter-flavor formula, but others in the industry are sure to be watching.